Open Hands is this year’s inspiring focus exhibition of Tarnanthi, the Art Gallery of South Australia’s annual celebration of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.
Open Hands pays tribute to the work of senior artists who pass on vital cultural knowledge to younger generations as the future leaders of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Through the act of making, they channel deep connections to Country and culture as they relate knowledge and expertise, stories and experiences.
Through a variety of media – including painting, works on paper, photography, moving image, sound installation, weaving, ceramics and sculpture – Open Hands honours the ongoing and often unseen work of women in communities to maintain culture. Keeping these stories alive and sharing knowledge is deeply embedded in everyday cultural life across Australia.
Tarnanthi is a flagship AGSA program that provides a platform for First Nations artists across the country to share important stories through new works of art. Its format alternates between a statewide festival in one year and a major focus exhibition the following year. Open Hands delivers the quality of content and depth of substance that have been the hallmark of Tarnanthi’s earlier focus exhibitions, such as John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new in 2018 and Riverland: Yvonne Koolmatrie in 2015.
Tarnanthi 2020 also includes the Tarnanthi Art Fair, public programs such as talks and tours, activities in the Studio, and student engagement. A 200-page full-colour publication accompanies the exhibition.
Tarnanthi is presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia with Principal Partner BHP and support from the Government of South Australia.